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80 MPs call for removing new tax on medicines

By Raed Omari - Jan 22,2018 - Last updated at Jan 22,2018

AMMAN — A majority of MPs on Monday demanded the government cancel the tax increase on medicines by 10 per cent, describing the recent hikes as adding more burden to the already-troubled middle- and low-income segments.

In a memorandum they signed and submitted to the Lower House’s permanent office to be forwarded to the government, around 80 MPs said that the government has violated the recommendation of the Chamber's Financial Committee to avoid adding more burdens to the health sector.

"The government has ignored the will of the House in its decision to increase the tax on medicines from 4 to 10 per cent which will shake the social security umbrella, especially due to the tremendous pressure on citizens as a result of this government's continued hikes to prices," the memo reads.

The lawmakers said that the House's endorsement of the 2018 state budget law was conditional to the government's abidance by the Financial Committee's recommendations, "mainly including keeping medicines’ prices untouched".

In their memo, a copy of which was seen by The Jordan Times, signatories argued that hiking medicines’ prices "violates human values" and adds more burdens on more than 88 per cent of Jordan's population.

They also said that the government's decision to levy a new tax on medicines, which went into effect as of Sunday, "contradicts with the Royal directives to ensure the wellbeing of the poor and middle classes".

Calling on the House to "collectively and categorically" reject the move, signatories said that the government  has "failed" in predicting the "backfire" from its tax reform programme.  

Earlier this week, the Jordan Pharmacists Association (JPhA) called on the government to cancel the tax increase on medicines by 10 per cent, threatening to close pharmacies and stop the disbursement of medicines in protest to the government's "insistence" on raising the tax.

 

In remarks to The Jordan Times, JPhA President Zeid Kilani said that the government's decision came without proper examination, transparency or consultation with the health sector, which is willing to sugest alternatives and economic solutions.

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